September 28, 2017
Photo by Diane L. Cohen/Getty Images
Celebrities like Jamie Foxx shared their most fondest memories of Playboy founder Hugh Hefner, after learning of his death on Wednesday evening.
But that was just some of the generosity the 91-year-old exhibited. While we all think of the collection of glossy nude photos the magazine was known for, many don’t know that he was a prominent fixture in the Civil Rights movement, even famously giving James Baldwin and Alex Haley bylines in the risque magazine.
Vox reports, “the most prestigious of all was the Playboy Interview column, which was developed by the great African-American writer Alex Haley. In the pages of Playboy, Haley interviewed everyone from Jimmy Carter to Johnny Carson — and he kept Playboy talking about race. It was at Playboy that Haley began the interview series with Malcolm X that would eventually become The Autobiography of Malcolm X.”
Haley went on to interview Martin Luther King, Jr. and Miles Davis for the publication.
And his relationship with Dick Gregory was a special one.
Hefner hired the comedian to work at his Chicago Playboy Club. He also gave the late civil rights activist money to help locate the bodies of three slain Civil Rights workers in Mississippi in 1964.
Remember this moment in 2001 where Gregory roasted Hefner for Comedy Central?
Heaven just got a whole lot cooler. Our prayers are with the entire Hefner and Playboy family.